Executing The Inside Zone Read Play

The Inside Zone Read is a staple run play in many offenses. This play requires little setup and is easy to implement in a vast majority of offenses. Here's how to run it!

 In this video, Coach Kyle Ralph from New Palestine HS, (IN) details how to teach proper blocking technique and run fits for your offense in a Power Spread System


The Offensive Line

As always, the play starts up from the offensive line. The most important rule to remember is that your Linemen are not looking to get vertical. You want the Offensive Linemen to stay square to the line of scrimmage and not turn their shoulders. Turning their shoulders will create lanes for defenders that could result in a busted play. 

You want your Offensive Line moving horizontally in unison, looking to execute combination blocks depending on the Defensive Lineman front. Staying horizontal creates horizontal seams for your running back to run through. Vertical pushes are appreciated, but not required. Defensive penetration or missed blocks can blow up the inside zone read play.

Running Back’s Read

The Running Back’s run key is the first defender on the line of scrimmage from the inside out. So, in a four-man front, if there is no designated Nose Tackle head-up over the center, the Running Back will read the Defensive Tackle to the play side. His responsibility is to take the same horizontal first step as the Offensive Line, receive the handoff, and read the run key. 

If the defender stunts into the A Gap, the ball carrier takes the B Gap. Conversely, if the defender takes the B Gap, the ball carrier runs into the A Gap. If both options are closed, the ball carrier cuts backside into the opposite A gap. 

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